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Rep. Steve King race baits Obama

During an interview on his radio show on Monday, Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson and I got into a friendly tussle over whether President Obama needed to have a specific "black agenda."

"So what you're saying is that the president has to have an identifiable and named 'black agenda'," I said to Dyson, who quickly countered, "Oh, he doesn't have to name it. He's just got to have an identifiable -- I'm just saying he's got to have help for black people. You could call it the 'substitute Caucasian plan.' It doesn't even make a difference what you call it."

"But then what ends up happening is the president is then criticized for playing favorites," I said. "And that is the problem that he most assuredly would have."

That same day, as if to prove my point -- with no proof of his own -- Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) accused the president of just that on G. Gordon Liddy's radio show.

When you look at this administration, I'm offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture. It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race. And I don't know what the basis of that is, but I'm not a coward when it comes to that, and I'm happy to talk about these things, and I think we should. But the president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race -- on the side that favors the black person.

Attorney General Eric Holder may have been inartful. But his "coward" critique applied to all Americans, blacks and whites alike -- and it wasn't off-the-mark.

Anyway, King's nutty comments led candidates in Colorado to cancel campaign events with him this weekend. But he is unrepentant and unbowed.

I have no regrets about what I said. I stand by what I said, because what I said is accurate. It's factual....I don't want anybody to think that Steve King loses a minute's sleep over this."

I told my people here that handle my media: "Let's let this cook for a couple of days and see if this pot will come to a boil." I don't want to put it away in the first day because I think the American people need to have this debate about what appears to me to be an inclination on the part of the White House and the Justice Department and perhaps others within the administration to break on the side of favoritism with regard to race.

Imagine what folks would say if there were concrete (read: real) examples of racial favoritism. Notice that King neglected to list any. He didn't because there aren't any. Obama ran a race-blind campaign. So blind that he only addressed the issue of race after past sermons of his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright threatened to kill his candidacy. And he has governed the way a president should govern: without fear or favor of one race over another.

Maybe King should get on the phone with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. They have squawked that Obama lacks a black agenda. And they're echoing the sentiment in some parts of their districts and in some segments of the African American community that believe the first black president should put black people first.

As I said on Dyson's show, anyone who insists that Obama push a "black agenda," one that separates the needs of African Americans from the overall needs of all Americans, is guaranteeing Obama will serve one term. King would see to that.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 17, 2010; 6:15 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Mr. King is a neanderthalic moron.

I give Iowa more credit, he's shaming their state with his ignorance and bile. If there's an issue with handling race, it's obviously Mr. Kings problem. I can smell his fear and paranoia from here. C'mon Iowa, you're so much better than the likes of Mr. King.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | June 17, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

As an Iowan, I can truthfully say that the vast majority of us are much better than the likes of Steve King. He is to Iowa what Michelle Bachmann is to Minnesota - a colossal embarrassment. Thankfully, I do not live in his district which encompasses most of the western half of Iowa, and is predominantly rural. I can't bring myself to believe that the majority of people in his district actually concur with his views.

Posted by: ehsmith1 | June 17, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

It is always about race, and pointing out that it is always about race always makes you a racist.

The face you see in the mirror every morning. Who do you see? Is it just a guy trying to feed and care for family and loved ones, or is it a "black guy"? (Substitute any of your favorite underrepresented category for black, and it still works.) Do you see a victim? A victim of what?

Alas, I think you probably see the two latter in combination. That is all I can figure that makes you, and other activists, frame every single issue, every single point of contention, as racially charged, and every counterpoint as racist.

Don't you think it would be refreshing to look in the mirror and just see that hard working fellow trying to make things better around him?

Maybe not. Race baiting and reactionary activism have brought you this far. Why give it up this late in the game?

Posted by: Rjames2 | June 17, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Capeheart, YOU are the "race baiter".
You are the "professional black man" who makes a living by pushing "racism" narratives that get you talking head gigs on TV and column inches in big newspapers.
You find racism and look through the prism of race because it IS IN YOUR INTEREST!
Cut the Crying Wolf stuff and be a MAN, not a BLACK MAN.
Enough already. What happened to the color blind society?
You are the farthest thing from MLK Jr's vision of judging men by the "content of their character."
I know pushing the race thing makes you money, but it hurts the country.

Posted by: johnL1 | June 17, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Poor johnL: How difficult is it for a tea tard like you to admit that one of your heroes -- the nutty Steve King -- is a racist? If King hadn't opened his piehole, this column could not have been written.

How difficult is that for you to understand?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 17, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm certain that, should Rep. King ever encounter an actual Black person, he would treat him or her with the utmost tolerance.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | June 17, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Rep. King is spot on. It is so obvious that it is only not seen by those getting all the breaks and goodies.
One would have to be blind and deaf, like Capehart, not to see it.

Posted by: SenorSlick | June 17, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have "gotten into bed" with a variety of non-traditional organizations and elements in America to gain high state and national office. The latest adherence to fairly radical voices (Tea Party, for example) indicates the depth of desire not to be out of power.

Those who can be convinced that they ought to feel disaffected will almost always lend some sense of credibility. During the last Bush administration, it was a call for a color-blind society even while pushing people of color to the periphery of influence. Now there's an attempt to unjustly imply that the President favors a racial agenda. We will be a long-suffering nation as long as ignorance and petty spite dominates our thinking (or worse, the airwaves). Turning our backs on such as Steve King is the surest way to bring conversation back to civil and meaningful.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | June 17, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

So, what has the President done to favor blacks? I didn't think so. It's the same lack of evidence when the Tea Party yells they're losing "freedom and liberty". Pathetic.

Posted by: jckdoors | June 17, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

God bless Steve King. I wish he were my Congressman.

Posted by: traderdad37 | June 17, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

When Obama said the police acted stupidly, he did not know any facts other that Gates was black and the policeman was white.

Steve King's comment was accurate.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 17, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

When Obama said the police acted stupidly, he did not know any facts other that Gates was black and the policeman was white.

No, he knew that the police arrested someone who was trying to get into his own house.

Posted by: ablum1 | June 17, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Even if you don't except the Skip Gates example, which is decidedly "small potatoes" (except for the fact that the President felt the need to bash a police officer for arresting of one of his friends), any law-abiding American should be up in arms over the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panther voting access case. A good write-up can be found here:

While the WaPo barely covered the case because it counter the "restore the civil rights division" mantra, other responsbile media outlets did. It should be a wake-up call that the Obama Administration does indeed play favorites.

Posted by: outcast | June 17, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

King has stated the obvious truth.

That will drive most of the MSM absolutely crazy.

On can only discuss race in this country if it's done under terms acceptable to the likes of Capehart and all of his ideological counterparts.

Posted by: goudy1 | June 17, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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